Recently I read an article about an apology offered by Ray Hadley to his 2GB radio colleagues following an incident in which he was accused of bullying. Reported accounts from ‘insiders’ suggest Ray’s apology was sincere and heartfelt. The article also claims that Macquarie Radio Network managing director Rob Loewenthal had urged Ray to “make a “fresh start” to promote cultural change at the station, which has long been a bastion of blokey behaviour”.
While I’m sure Rob is a persuasive guy it makes me wonder what shifted in Ray’s world to make him take stock, own his behaviour and publicly commit to change. Cynics might argue he was instructed to do so but in my experience authenticity can’t be faked. Given Ray’s reported reputation it is unlikely uttering words forced to come from his mouth would convince anyone of his sincerity.
Reading this article made me reflect on how often I observe fear, sadness and insecurity in people who are behaving badly. While of course it is necessary to redress inappropriate conduct it is also true that often the solution lies as much in acting with compassion. All too often those who bully are those who have been bullied. If not the victims of poor behavior, often these people are fragile characters who struggle to love themselves as much as they struggle to create healthy relationships with others.
Sometimes the most powerful way to help people change is to make them feel understood and cared for. Standing firm with a non-negotiable expectation that they change their behavior or move on is important; but so too is supporting the bully to understand why they behave the way that they do and resolve the attitudes or emotions that fuel their behavior.
This blog would not be complete without commenting on something else the article suggests. Apparently Ray is a close friend of station owner John Singleton. When following the incident Ray was suspended by network manager Rob, it is reported that within hours Ray’s mate John intervened and waived the suspension. If this is true it reveals a lot about the way the organisation is run and perhaps why their ‘blokey’ culture is an ongoing issue. It never ceases to amaze me how often business owners ‘cut off their nose to spite their face’ by undermining the very people they employ to help them succeed. Good luck to Rob as he strives to create a healthy workplace culture in an environment where the big boss is willing and able to work against him (or so the article claims).